Every year, the Texas Public Works Association honors a select few public works employees with the prestigious Top Public Works Leader of the Year Award. This year, Cullen College alumnus Doug Haude (BSCE ’02) received the award for his work with the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA).
Haude is employed as a senior project manager with the SJRA, where he oversees the implementation of the groundwater reduction plan program in Montgomery County. After the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District determined several years ago that area aquifers were being depleted faster than they could refill, they mandated that large volume groundwater users in Montgomery County find an alternative source of water to reduce the pumpage rate on the aquifer over a 40 year period. Haude has led the SJRA’s effort to reroute some of the area’s water usage from groundwater to treated surface water in Lake Conroe, including the construction of a multi-million dollar treatment plant.
The groundwater reduction plan headed up by Haude also includes around 55 miles of large-diameter water lines to transfer the treated Lake Conroe surface water to areas throughout Montgomery County, including The Woodlands, Conroe, Oak Ridge and other municipal utility districts in the region. The plan is not intended to completely replace reliance on underground aquifers, but rather to reduce the strain on them by allowing large volume groundwater users to tap into an alternate water source as well.
For Haude, tackling public works projects in north Houston isn’t just a job – it’s in his blood. He can trace his family lineage back to the original Spring/Klein area settlers, and it’s his Texan work ethic that he thinks may have earned him the award.
“I don’t know how, but I was nominated, and four of us received the award from various parts around the state,” Haude said. “Itmade me proud that hard work does get recognized. I do know deep down inside that I am a hard worker and I give it all I’ve got. So [this award] was kind of a validation of that.”
When Haude initially pursued his higher education, he enrolled at Stephen F. Austin University and earned a bachelor’s degree in business accounting. After a few years in the workforce, he began going back to school part time at the University of Houston, working towards a civil engineering degree. “I really enjoy what I do, but I’m not really sure that would have been the case down the road on the accounting path,” he said.
The groundwater reduction plan in Montgomery County should be fully implemented by next summer, but don’t expect Haude to be going anywhere. He said he’ll always remain opento opportunities around the world, but there’s no place like home. “Being a Texan, I like it right here in town. It’s hard to beat Texas.”